FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University head baseball coach Chris Finwood has announced the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLIs) on Friday. The new signees are made up of five position players and one pitcher, with five entering WKU in fall 2009 as freshmen while one is a junior college transfer.
“First let me say what a great job Coach Allen and Coach Myers did in creating relationships with these young men and their families,” said Finwood. “I can’t say enough about what a good job they did. All of our signees are not only outstanding baseball players, but quality young men and outstanding students. We definitely addressed our immediate needs with this class. Two of the top four prospects in the state (Tanner Perkins and Chris Berry) are coming to be Hilltoppers, so that says a lot about the inroads we are making in the minds of young men in the state of Kentucky. We certainly expect all of these signees to have a chance to contribute early in their careers and help us continue our success in the Sun Belt Conference.”
Tanner Perkins, a left-handed pitcher from Brodhead, Ky., is the top-ranked pitcher in Kentucky according to Perfect Game Crosschecker. Listed as the number four overall prospect in the state, Perkins has been an All-District, All-Region, and Honorable Mention All-State performer the past two years for Rockcastle County High School. A polished pitcher with command of three pitches, Perkins played in the Kentucky East-West All-Star Game and was invited to participate with Perfect Game National at Wrigley Field this past summer.
“Tanner is the top left-hander in the state of Kentucky and very well may be the best overall pitcher in the state,” said Finwood. “Tanner is very athletic and already possesses three quality pitches. We project him to be a valuable member of our pitching staff early on in his career.”
Kory Petri is a left-handed outfielder who comes to WKU from Northwest Mississippi Community College, the same program that produced current Topper All-American Chad Cregar. Petri played his high school baseball at Oxford High School in Oxford, Miss., but now calls Lexington, Ky. home as his father, Rick, is a member of Rich Brooks’ football coaching staff at the University of Kentucky.
“Kory can really hit and will project as a middle order hitter at WKU,” said Finwood. “We are excited about adding Kory’s experienced and his left-handed bat to go along with our young right-handed hitters in this signing class.”
Blake Crabtree is an infielder from Austin, Ky. A standout, multi-sport athlete from Barren County High School, Crabtree was the 2008 Fourth Region Player-of-the-Year while earning All-State Second-Team honors. In addition, he received All-State acclaim as both a football and basketball star, as well as earning Academic All-State accolades.
“Blake is a very versatile athlete who can play multiple positions on the field,” said Finwood. “His best tool is that he can really hit and will have a chance to be a productive offensive player during his career at WKU. Blake will be a redshirt freshman after taking this year off recovering from an elbow injury. We are all excited about adding Blake to our program and expect big things from him.”
Matt Borgschulte is an outfielder from St. Louis, Mo. Rated as the 17th best overall prospect in the state of Missouri, the right-handed-hitting Borgschulte is considered the sixth-ranked position player. An All-Conference performer, he will be completing his senior season at Parkway Central High School this year after having played his summer baseball for the St. Louis Pirates.
“Matt is in the mold of Wade Gaynor in that he is a big kid who can run, throw, and hit,” said Finwood. “We expect Matt to contribute early in his career. He gives us a right-handed bat to go along with our lefty hitters in the outfield. Matt has a great arm and should project as a right fielder for us.”
Chris Berry is a right-handed hitting infielder who hails from Louisville, Ky. He is the third-ranked position player in the Commonwealth. A product of Trinity High School, Berry played for Next Level Baseball this past summer.
“Chris is an outstanding hitter and has a great arm. He is a very polished shortstop who has the arm to play anywhere on the infield,” said Finwood. “Chris is an aggressive young man who plays with a lot of confidence and reminds me of a young Terrance Dayleg. We think he will be an outstanding player here at WKU.”
Lastly, Ryan Huck is a right-handed catcher and first baseman from St. Louis, Mo. A summer teammate of Ryan Borgschulte, Huck is the number one rated position player, and fourth overall, in the state of Missouri according to Perfect Game. He earned All-State Second-Team honors playing for Oakville High School. In addition, he played for the Seattle Mariners USA team, was selected as a Top 50 Midwest prospect by Major League Baseball scouting, and was named the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Most Valuable Player.
“Ryan is a big power hitter who will end up in the middle of our order. He has great power to all fields and will be a valuable addition to our offense,” said Finwood. “Ryan is one of the top-rated, pure power hitters in the 2009 high school class.”
WKU, the defending Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions, will begin their season on Friday, February 20 when the Toppers host the University of Toledo in the first of a four-game series at 3:00 PM at Nick Denes Field.